In my experience, people don’t like being surprised — whether it’s at a party or by a spider in the bathtub. Of course, some surprises are more tolerable than others, but it’s usually that initial reaction that has a lasting impact.

We’ve all had those ‘sticker shock’ experiences at some point. And even if we ultimately negotiated an acceptable deal, chances are the first impression we got from a salesperson wasn’t a good one.

As technology specialists are rapidly extinguishing precision farming fires this spring, they are also using their on-farm time as a valuable touchpoint with customers to make sure they head to the field satisfied with their equipment and service investment.

Tracking support time can be challenging, especially in spring, and savvy dealers tend to find creative ways to streamline the process. One of the more unique programs I’ve seen was one rolled out during the last year by a mid-size OEM dealership in the Midwest.

With a handful of 20,000-plus acre operators among its customer base, the dealership developed what it calls ‘hardware management’ programs, which include all of the farm’s precision technology for a 3 or 5 year period. This includes displays, rate controllers and receivers along with software updates, activations or upgrades to the most current model.

While the annual cost is in the mid-five- figures, the value for the customer is being able to pencil out their precision expenses once during the year, says the dealership’s precision specialist.

“It’s helping to mainstream their precision equipment with the latest hardware and it’s a lot easier to support because we don’t have issues with mixed displays or older equipment,” he says.

The dealership has a couple of customers enrolled in the program so far, but the precision specialist sees these annual packages becoming more popular.

“It’s becoming a trend because instead of needing to update a display the next year or a receiver mid-season, this eliminates those surprise costs for the customer,” he says.